Johannes Romppanen

Love is in the air #43 – New York 10/10

I’m ending this New York chapter with a meeting I had with Samuel Budin. I started talking with him at a farmers market in the street. He asked me what I was doing there and I told him about my podcast project. He found that interesting and said he had thought a lot about love recently. Naturally I got curious. Samuel is a photographer and writer, he had written a piece about his separation with his girlfriend, I asked if I could see it and he sent it to my e-mail. I read it in the evening and immediately replied if he would have time to meet for a chat. My time in New York was very limited but I am happy we found a time to meet.

Photo by Samuel Budin, zine cover calligraphy by Ken Chan

TEXT BY Samuel Budin

Samuel Budin

This is the story of how I found love in Philadelphia, PA, and how I lost it, and the role that the New Jersey Turnpike played in the affair. There are images which accompany this text. I had meant for them to form a different series, a study of the notable places that I saw alongside the Pike as I rode between New York, my terrible home, and Philly, the City of Visible Infrastructure, on Megabus Route M23, with historical notes. Had it been completed, that work, and not this one, would have been “America’s Greatest Road.”

The truth is that my interest in these places never extended far beyond the visual. At this time, I can’t bring myself to care at all about the Linden Cogeneration Plant, Newark International, Preferred Freezer Service, or whatever atrocious mall or industrial park is going up in East Brunswick near Exit 8.

The road as a metaphor is well worn. I don’t want to overburden it here. I approach my subject with open eyes; I don’t mean to idealize or romanticize it. The fact remains that between June, 2017 and February, 2018 the New Jersey Turnpike was my lifeline. This is the story of how I found love, and how I lost it, in Philadelphia, PA.

Samuel Budin

When we met, I was photographer in residence at Philadelphia’s Center for Art in Wood. My job was to photograph the other residents, all woodworkers, as they went about their woodwork.

I was living like a rank undergraduate in a private suite in a dorm on Pine Street, courtesy of the Center. It was spacious, with high ceilings and crummy furniture. Towels and linens were provided, as was a motley assortment of dishes and cooking utensils, dish soap and a couple rolls of toilet paper. The stove was adequate. The mini fridge was too small. The wall to wall carpeting I tried not to think too much about. I loved it. I spent most of my time in the bath.

My best friend’s mother loaned me her bicycle. I did not get on public transit but once that entire summer. Philadelphia is, by far, a more humane city to live in than New York. I seemed to find something novel and charming around every corner.

I got busy on my dating apps as soon as I was settled and before long I matched with someone exciting. I continued to get to know the city, and I began to get to know her.

Now things are over and I’ve got no reason to make the trip, just this handful of photographs of I-95, every mile of which is tied to some feeling or memory of our time together.

Samuel Budin

Samuel Budin

Samuel Budin

Samuel Budin

Samuel Budin

Samuel Budin

Samuel Budin

Sound and mastering by Jyri Pirinen.

Johannes profile portrait by Maria Sann

www.lovepodcast.fm

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